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DIANE MAKAR MURPHY Armed with rapier wits, they breached security



Published: Thu, August 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



I was seated inside Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with my son Josh, waiting for a plane to arrive, when I noticed a poster-sized sign at the security check entrance.

On it was a drawing of a bomb -- one of those funny Pink Panther cartoon ones that looks like a cannonball with a sparking wick. It had a bold X through it. Next to that picture was one of a revolver, similarly X-ed out. And next to these was another of scissors and another of a dagger, each of which also had bold Xs atop them.

Above the four icons was the admonition -- "Prohibited Items."

I kid you not.

Now, jet lag may do funny things to you, but is anyone THAT stupid?

In fact, the list that followed the drawings was SO funny (and obvious), that I wrote down every entry. And I promise you -- I am accurately quoting ...

Don't bring these

"Prohibited Items, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. For everyone's security, you may not bring any of the following items beyond this point:

Ammunition

Automatic weapons

Axes

Baseball bats

BB guns

Billie clubs

Black jacks

Blasting caps

Bows and arrows

Brass knuckles

Bull whips

Cattle prods

Compressed air guns

Cricket bats

Crow bars

Disabling chemicals or gasses

Dynamite

Flare pistols

Gun powder

Hand grenades

Hatchets

Hockey sticks

Hunting knives

Ice axe/ice picks

Knives (any length)

Large heavy tools

Mace [Josh wondered if they meant the spray or the medieval weapon...]

Meat cleavers

Pellet guns

Pepper spray [leading Josh to believe they DID mean the medieval weapon]

Pistols

Plastic explosives

Pool cues

Portable power saws

Rifles

Sabers

Shot guns

Speargun [Josh assumes this is for whalers]

Swords

Tear gas

Throwing stars

Toy transformer robots"

The image of a traveler with a prohibited item suddenly flummoxed by the sign, groaning, "Hey, if someone had just TOLD me hand grenades were prohibited ..." is too much for me.

But the last two lines on the poster cleared things up ... "If you are carrying any of these items, you may:

UTalk to your airline representative about checking the item or

UReturn the item to your car."

Excuse me, sir, may I leave these hand grenades with you until my return flight?

Are these OK?

Josh and I had a great time laughing about the likelihood of that. But we sobered up quickly when we began to brainstorm what had been omitted from the list!

For heaven's sake, what if some travelers unknowingly brought any of the following on board?!:

Land mine

Mortar shell

Radial arm saw

Ninja

Guillotine

Catapult

Heat seeking missile launcher

Amphibious vehicle

Sherman tank

Smallpox virus

Nuclear submarine

Osama bin Laden

Saddam Hussein

murphy@vindy.com




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